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  • Writer's pictureJohn J. Diak, CFP®

Relocating for Family: A Parent's Guide to Making the Right Choice



Relocating for Family: A Parent's Guide to Making the Right Choice

Becoming a parent fundamentally transforms how you view the world. Suddenly, your needs and desires are intertwined with what’s best for your child, steering your goals and priorities in new, often unexpected directions. This shift can feel both exhilarating and daunting, as every decision, particularly choosing where to live and raise your children, carries greater significance. If you're contemplating whether relocating might benefit your family, you're not alone in weighing these impactful choices.


Many people grow up and spend their entire lives in the same town, content with the familiarity of their surroundings. Others may go off to college, move around for career opportunities, or chase big-city dreams only to find themselves reconsidering their living situations when starting a family. But even for those who stuck around their old stomping grounds, their neighborhood or town may have changed dramatically over time. The decision to move can be complex, influenced by the desire to provide the best environment for raising your children. 


If you (or your adult children) are considering a move, how can you best evaluate whether relocating is the right step? Reflect on these considerations to guide your decision.


Quality of Life

When deciding where to raise children, it's crucial to consider safety, amenities, support systems, social connections, and community resources. These factors not only shape their upbringing but also affect their well-being, development, and future opportunities. Prioritizing a nurturing environment is key to promoting a high quality of life and enhancing their sense of security, happiness, and belonging.


When evaluating potential moves, consider what aspects you are willing to compromise on and what you deem non-negotiable. For some parents, it’s most important that children have a spacious home and easy access to exploring the great outdoors. Others might prioritize educational opportunities, cultural diversity, or living in a community that shares similar values and beliefs. Ultimately, the definition of a good quality of life varies widely and is deeply personal.


If you're contemplating a move due to dissatisfaction with your current surroundings, consider the timing and potential impacts carefully. Relocating can significantly affect a child's social, emotional, and academic development. The disruption of leaving established social networks can lead to loneliness or isolation while adapting to a new school, which might impact their academic performance and self-confidence. If a move is necessary, it's crucial to support your children by maintaining consistent routines, fostering new friendships, and ensuring they feel secure in their new environment. It’s essential to balance your aspirations with your children's practical and emotional needs to preserve their overall quality of life.


Long-Term Planning and Future Goals

As a parent, you may have a big vision of what it would mean to relocate your family, but be careful not to idealize the potential outcome. It's crucial to consider how moving aligns with your long-term goals and impacts your family's future. A move should enhance, not compromise, your financial stability. This involves assessing job prospects, cost of living, and advancement opportunities in a new area—a step crucial to your decision-making process.


While ambition can drive success anywhere, moving out of your comfort zone—away from your alum community or professional networks—could challenge your confidence and career opportunities. Ensure that relocation supports your family goals, such as access to quality education, career growth, and a vibrant community. Weighing the benefits of a move against its financial and other implications is key to achieving a sustainable and fulfilling family life.


Consider how relocating might affect major plans like homeownership, retirement, and family dynamics. Think about housing affordability, mortgage options, and property value trajectories in potential new locations. How will the move impact your retirement savings or necessitate cost-of-living adjustments?


Relocating can also impact family dynamics, affecting relationships, support networks, and caregiving arrangements. Avoid making assumptions; if you move back to your hometown, your parents might not want to babysit, or they could be planning to move for retirement. On the other hand, if you move across the country, are you willing to travel home for every holiday? 


Adapting to a new community's norms and lifestyle or navigating different educational and extracurricular opportunities for children can also be challenging. It’s not uncommon for adults to still harbor some resentment about being forced to relocate as a child, leaving the familiarity of their friends and community. 


It’s important to evaluate these implications thoroughly and make informed decisions that align with long-term financial stability and family well-being.


Practical Considerations

A thoughtful and well-organized approach to planning your move is crucial for a successful relocation. Start by evaluating your housing options well in advance. Decide whether to buy immediately or rent in the new area first to better understand where you'd like to settle permanently. Consider both your budgetary constraints and lifestyle preferences when making this decision.


Transportation is another crucial factor. For instance, living in a large metropolitan area could mean facing a two-hour commute between your desired neighborhood schools and the best job opportunities in your industry. Moving to a sought-after suburb, on the other hand, could mean a convenient commute.  


Additionally, it’s important to calculate relocation expenses, including moving services, utility transfers, and any potential unforeseen costs. This preparation helps anticipate financial impacts and can ease the transition, allowing you to settle into your new home with less stress and more confidence. 


Seeking Professional Advice

The key to making the right decision for your family ultimately comes down to thorough research, proper planning, and aligning with the vision you have for your future. What are your goals, dreams, and aspirations, and how will your circumstances change if you choose to settle in a new place?


Seeking professional advice is a must when navigating the complexities of relocating. Consult with knowledgeable professionals, such as real estate agents, financial advisors, and educational consultants to gain insights tailored to your specific situation. Our expertise can highlight important factors you might have overlooked and assist you in making well-informed decisions.


It's also important to foster open communication within your family, ensuring that everyone's needs and desires are considered in the decision-making process. With expert guidance and collaborative planning, you can manage the transition smoothly and lay a strong foundation for a successful and fulfilling new chapter in your life.


John J. Diak, CFP® is the Principal & Client Wealth Manager at Oatley & Diak, LLC in Parker, Colorado. He assists clients through many difficult lifestyle changes such as business downturns, retirement planning, divorce, the death of a spouse, and family estate issues among others. Oatley & Diak, LLC is a family-run registered investment advisory (RIA) firm that provides clients with investment management and financial planning services in a hands-on, intimate environment. Learn more about them at oatleydiak.com.


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.


This material was prepared by Crystal Marketing Solutions, LLC, and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate and is intended merely for educational purposes, not as advice.


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